Red Sox’ Eddinson Paulino named to MLB Pipeline’s Prospect Team of the Week

Not to be overshadowed by the likes of Niko Kavadas or Blaze Jordan, Red Sox infield prospect Eddinson Paulino was named to MLB Pipeline’s Prospect Team of the Week on Monday.

Representing second-base prospects across Minor League Baseball, Paulino went 12-for-25 (.480) with two doubles, two triples, two home runs, seven RBIs, eight runs scored, five stolen bases, six walks, and two strikeouts in Low-A Salem’s latest six-game series against the Delmarva Shorebirds at Carilion Clinic Field.

Paulino, 19, is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 19 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox originally signed the Dominican-born infielder as an international free-agent for $205,000 on his 16th birthday in 2018.

With 2022 marking his first full season in pro ball, Paulino got off to a rocky start with Salem by posting a wRC+ of 77 in the month of April. Since the calendar flipped to May, however, the left-handed hitter has turned a corner offensively by slashing a stout .299/.399/.518 (154 wRC+) with 14 doubles, three triples, four homers, 21 runs driven in, 37 runs scored, 12 stolen bases, 26 walks, and 28 strikeouts over his last 41 games and 193 trips to the plate.

Among qualified Carolina League hitters this season, Paulino now ranks first in doubles (18), second in triples (8), second in runs scored (48), 14th in RBIs (32), ninth in walks drawn (32), 16th in strikeout rate (18.5%), 21st in stolen bases (13), 21st in batting average (.267), 27th in on-base percentage (.360), 11th in slugging percentage (.475), 13th in OPS (.835), 10th in isolated power (.208), eighth in speed score (8.7), and 15th in wRC+ (131), per FanGraphs.

On the other side of the ball, Paulino has understandably seen the majority of his playing time this year come at second base. But the 5-foot-10, 155 pounder has also played some third base and shortstop while logging a total of 46 defensive innings between left and center field.

Per his MLB Pipeline scouting report, Paulino possesses 50-grade speed “and displays good instincts on the bases. He has reliable hands and some twitchy athleticism but his quickness and average arm strength are a bit stretched at shortstop.”

Paulino, who turns 20 next month, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this winter unless he is otherwise added to Boston’s 40-man roster before then. As of now, it looks like the Red Sox would be taking a risk if they were to leave the Santiago native unprotected come late November.

That being said, there is still plenty of time left before the 2022 season comes to a close. Perhaps Paulino can use it to his advantage like he has already been doing in recent weeks.

(Picture of Eddinson Paulino: Gary Streiffer/Flickr)

Should Red Sox consider taking Oregon State outfielder Jacob Melton with top pick in this year’s draft?

With the 2022 MLB Draft fast approaching, the Red Sox continue to be linked to college outfielders in recently-published mock drafts from industry experts.

MLB.com’s Jim Callis, for instance, has the Red Sox taking University of Tennessee outfielder Drew Gilbert with their top pick in his latest mock that was released on Wednesday night.

Last week, Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo had Boston selecting University of California, Berkeley outfielder Dylan Beavers with the 24th overall pick.

Needless to say, there seems to be some speculation within the industry that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. could be leaning towards taking a college bat when the Red Sox are first on the clock on July 17.

Taking that into consideration, Oregon State outfielder Jacob Melton should probably be viewed as a potential Red Sox target as well. In fact, Collazo wrote that the Oregon native “is being scouted throughout the back of the first round.”

Melton, 21, is currently regarded by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline as the 25th- and 54th-ranked prospect in this year’s draft class, respectively.

In 60 games with the Beavers (who are currently in the super regionals of the College World Series) this season, the left-handed hitting junior batted a stout .360/.422/.668 with 21 doubles, four triples, 16 home runs, 81 RBIs, 65 runs scored, 21 stolen bases, 24 walks, and 47 strikeouts over 282 plate appearances en route to being named the Pac-12 Conference’s Player of the Year.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, Melton’s “production is prettier than his swing, which is described as ‘unorthodox’ and features plenty of moving parts. He starts with an open stance and features a leg kick in his load, with a long load that includes a barrel dump on the back half and an arm bar. Despite those mechanics, Melton has plenty of bat speed and the athleticism to make it work. While his bat path might not be ideal, his barrel stays in the zone for a long time and he has the strength to drive the ball with authority, with a frame that suggests more could be coming.”

MLB Pipeline, on the other hand, notes that the 6-foot-3, 208 pounder “has the chance to do some damage from the left side of the plate. He has an advanced approach at the plate and makes a ton of contact. He also has a good amount of juice to his pull side, and he’s tapped into that power even more in 2022, leading some scouts to think he might have better than average pop in the future.”

Defensively, Melton has moved from first base to the outfield over the course of his collegiate career and has now established himself as Oregon State’s everyday center fielder. Baseball America labels his arm strength as average while MLB Pipeline indicates that he is capable of playing all three outfield positions given his plus speed, which also helps him on the basepaths.

Melton, who turns 22 in September, is projected to go to the Giants at No. 30 by Collazo and to the Astros at No. 28 by Callis. The recommended slot value for both of this picks ($2.485 million and 2.62 million, respectively) is a bit lower than the $2,974,900 attached to the Red Sox’ first-round selection.

Because of this difference, the Sox could look to cut an underslot deal with Melton if they were to take him at No. 24, though that remains to be seen for a number of reasons.

Boston last used a first-rounder on an Oregon State player in 2005, when speedy outfielder Jacoby Jacoby Ellsbury was selected with the 23rd overall pick. Unlike Ellsbury at that time, though, Melton has never been drafted before.

(Picture of Jacob Melton: Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

2022 MLB Draft prospect Tucker Toman works out for Red Sox in Greenville

The Red Sox hosted Hammond School (Columbia, S.C.) infielder Tucker Toman for a pre-draft workout at Fluor Field in Greenville on Saturday, according to SportsTalk Media Network.

Toman, 18, is the son of current Middle Tennessee State baseball coach Jim Toman. He is also currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 42 draft-eligible prospect and by Baseball America as the No. 70 prospect in this year’s draft class.

A switch-hitter, Toman batted .487 and slugged .887 with seven home runs and 27 RBIs in his senior season with the Skyhawks. The South Carolina native is committed to play his college baseball at the esteemed Louisiana State University, but he is expected to go pro this summer.

Per his MLB Pipeline scouting report, “Toman shows better bat speed with his left-handed stroke but is proficient from both sides of the plate. He understands his swing and barrels balls with ease when he just concentrates on making hard contact to all fields. He got too aggressive and pull-happy at times last summer but has the hittability, bat speed and strength for at least average and perhaps plus power without swinging for the fences.”

Baseball America, on the other hand, notes that Toman “has impressive power potential as a switch-hitter and is an offensive-oriented infielder who had an up-and-down summer. At his best, Toman barreled the baseball and sprayed line drives and deep fly balls all over the field, but he also had events where he swung and missed consistently and got himself out with bad chases on pitches out of the zone.”

Defensively, the 6-foot-1, 190 pounder is described by MLB Pipeline as a player with an uncertain future given that he only has below-average speed and average arm strength.

“The best-case scenario would be third base, where his arm and hands might be a little light but he has the work ethic to possibly make it to happen,” Toman’s scouting report reads. “Second base seems like a bigger stretch with his lack of quickness, and he could wind up on an outfield corner.”

Toman, who turns 19 in November, could very well be someone the Red Sox target in the second round as opposed to the first in this year’s amateur draft, which begins in Los Angeles on July 17.

Boston owns the 24th and 41st overall picks in the 2022 draft. They also own the 79th overall selection, which they received as compensation for losing Eduardo Rodriguez to the Tigers in free agency.

While it remains to be seen just how interested the Red Sox are in a prospect such as Toman, it is somewhat intriguing that this information got out there.

(Picture of Tucker Toman via his Instagram)

Latest MLB Pipeline mock draft has Red Sox selecting Stanford University outfielder Brock Jones with top pick

In his latest 2022 mock draft for MLB.com, MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis has the Red Sox taking Stanford University outfielder Brock Jones with their top pick at No. 24 overall.

Jones, 21, is regarded by MLB Pipeline as the 31st-ranked prospect in this year’s draft class. In 52 games for the Cardinal this regular season, the left-handed hitting junior batted a stout .328/.464/.682 with nine doubles, five triples, 17 home runs, 46 RBIs, 63 runs scored, 14 stolen bases, 47 walks, and 58 strikeouts over 252 plate appearances.

A native of Fresno, Calif., Jones began his collegiate career as a two-sport athlete who played both football and baseball. As a safety who was limited to special teams duties as a freshman, the 6-foot, 197 pounder gave up football to solely focus on baseball beginning in 2021.

Since he used to play safety, it should come as no surprise that — per his MLB Pipeline scouting report — Jones “has good reads and routes to give him a chance to play center field long-term, though his arm is fringy at best from the outfield.”

The majority of Jones’ playing time this year has come in center field, though he does have prior experience in left field as well.

At the plate, MLB Pipeline notes that Jones has “always swung and missed a fair amount,” which has kept him from getting to his power at times. Still, with a sturdy frame that is just about maxed out at this point, Jones possesses intriguing speed and heads-up instincts, making him a threat on the basepaths.

Jones, who does not turn 22 until next March, has drawn comparisons to fellow left-handed hitter and California native Joc Pederson due to his slugging abilities. There is some concern about his offensive profile moving forward, but the athleticism and raw tools are certainly there.

Because of what he offers, Jones is projected to be taken in the first round of this year’s amateur draft, which gets underway in Los Angeles on July 17. The recommended slot value for the 24th overall selection comes in at roughly $2.975 million.

In addition to Jones, the Red Sox have been linked to other college outfielders such as UC Berkeley’s Dylan Beavers and University of Tennessee teammates Jordan Beck and Drew Gilbert in other mock drafts.

(Picture of Brock Jones: Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Latest MLB Pipeline mock draft has Red Sox selecting Buford High School right-hander Dylan Lesko with top pick

In his latest 2022 mock draft for MLB Pipeline, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo has the Red Sox selecting Buford High School (Ga.) right-hander Dylan Lesko with their top pick at No. 24 overall.

Lesko, 18, is regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 9 draft-eligible prospect, which ranks first among pitchers in this year’s class. Despite the hype, the Georgia native recently underwent Tommy John surgery in late April, which is why Mayo has him falling to the late first round.

Prior to going under the knife, Lesko was coming off a dominant 2021 campaign for Buford in which he posted a 0.35 ERA with 112 strikeouts over 60 innings en route to becoming the first junior ever to take home Gatorade national baseball player of the year honors. He also got his 2022 season off to to a promising start before suffering an elbow injury that ultimately required Tommy John on April 26.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, Lesko impressed scouts on the showcase circuit by working with a 92-95 mph fastball that tops out at 97 mph as well as “the best changeup in the draft” and a curveball that has “the potential to become a plus weapon,” per Mayo.

Already equipped with a repeatable delivery, Lesko — who turns 19 in September — is currently committed to play college baseball at the esteemed Vanderbilt University should he choose not to go pro this summer.

While recovering from Tommy John will keep him sidelined for the next 12-15 months, there is still a strong chance Lesko is the first pitcher taken off the board come July 17 in Los Angeles.

The Red Sox have not used a first-round pick on a high school pitcher since 2016, when they took left-hander Jay Groome out of Barnegat High School in New Jersey with the 12th overall selection in that year’s draft.

Boston signed Groome for $3.65 million six years ago. This time around, the assigned slot value for the No. 24 pick in the 2022 draft comes in at roughly $2.975 million.

(Picture of Dylan Lesko: Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Latest MLB Pipeline mock draft has Red Sox taking University of Tennessee outfielder Jordan Beck with top pick

In his latest 2022 mock draft for MLB.com, Jim Callis has the Red Sox taking University of Tennessee outfielder Jordan Beck with their top pick at No. 24 overall.

Boston originally selected Beck in the 14th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of Hazel Green High School. The Alabama native, however, elected to honor his commitment to Tennessee rather than go pro at that time.

Fast forward three years, and Beck is now in the midst of his junior season with the top-ranked, 43-6 Volunteers. The right-handed hitter has appeared in all 49 of those games and has batted .314/.384/.592 with 12 doubles, one triple, 13 home runs, 45 RBIs, 51 runs scored, six stolen bases, 21 walks, and 43 strikeouts across 216 trips to the plate coming into play on Thursday.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, Beck has seen the majority of his playing time this season come in right field, though he also has past experience in center and in left. Last summer, for instance, he made seven appearances in center field for the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League.

Beck, who turned 21 last month, is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the 21st-ranked draft-eligible prospect in this year’s class. Baseball America, on the other hand, has Beck coming in as their No. 17 prospect.

Given his size, position, and background, Beck has drawn comparisons to former Red Sox outfielder Hunter Renfroe, who was also drafted out of an SEC school in Mississippi State University.

Per his MLB Pipeline scouting report, Beck “uses his bat speed, strength and the leverage in his 6-foot-3 frame to create well above-average raw power to all fields.” And although he can get too aggressive at the plate, he has been able to develop more discipline and make adjustments against breaking balls and changeups this year.

On the other side of things, MLB Pipeline notes that “Beck runs very well for his size, displaying solid speed and the ability to steal an occasional base. His plus arm strength adds to his profile in right field, where he’s a better-than-average defender.”

Baseball America describes Beck as “a powerful athlete” who possesses plus raw power and quality arm strength. He has the capabilities to play center field although he has not been asked to do so too much throughout his collegiate career because of teammate Drew Gilbert.

At this point, it is not yet known how much Beck will be looking to sign for when he is drafted during the All-Star break in July. That being said, we already know the assigned slot value for the 24th overall pick will come in at roughly $2.975 million.

(Picture of Jordan Beck: Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Baseball America’s latest mock draft has Red Sox selecting prep outfielder Justin Crawford with top pick

In his latest 2022 mock draft for Baseball America, Carlos Collazo has the Red Sox selecting Bishop Gorman High School outfielder Justin Crawford with their top pick at No. 24 overall.

Crawford, Collazo writes is “a premium position player with professional bloodlines who has taken a step forward with his strength after the offseason. He’s an elite runner who should provide plenty of defensive value and he’s got a nice swing with power potential.”

The son of former Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford, Justin is regarded by Baseball America as the 29th-ranked draft-eligible prospect in this year’s class. He is set to graduate from the baseball powerhouse in Las Vegas that is Bishop Gorman High School, which has produced the likes of Joey Gallo as well as 2020 first-rounder Austin Wells.

Crawford, who turned 18 in January, is listed at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds and has a projectable frame. In 30 games played for Bishop Gorman this spring, the left-handed hitter has batted .451/.529/.804 with 11 doubles, five triples, five home runs, 30 RBIs, 44 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 15 walks, and five strikeouts over 121 plate appearances.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, Crawford is “a great runner now with long and fluid strides and has posted exceptional run times in the 60-yard dash. He’s at least a 70-grade runner and should be able to cover massive swaths of ground in center field.”

MLB Pipeline, which has Crawford as their No. 37 draft prospect, notes that the left-handed hitting outfielder “has very good bat-to-ball skills” and is willing to make adjustments. He also “has the chance to be a plus defender in center field when all is said and done.”

A native of Nevada himself, Crawford is currently committed to play college baseball for the esteemed Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. It may take quite the signing bonus to sway him away from his commitment even if he is taken in the first round of this summer’s draft, which begins on July 17.

In prior mock drafts, the Red Sox have been linked to high school infielders, a college catcher, a college outfielder, and a college pitcher. The last time Boston used a first-round pick on a natural prep outfielder was 2009, when they took Rey Fuentes out of Fernando Callejo High School in Puerto Rico.

(Picture of Justin Crawford via his Instagram)

Latest MLB Pipeline mock draft has Red Sox selecting high school shortstop Jett Williams with top pick

In the first installment of their 2022 mock draft, MLB Pipeline has the Red Sox selecting Rockwall-Heath High School shortstop Jett Williams with its first-round pick at No. 24 overall.

The reasoning behind the selection from MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo is simple: “The Red Sox have taken a high school infielder the last three years they had a first-round pick, so we know they don’t shy away from that demographic.”

Mayo, of course, is referring to the fact that Boston has used its last three first-rounders on a trio of prep infielders in Marcelo Mayer (2021), Nick Yorke (2020), and Triston Casas (2018).

Williams, on the other hand, is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 25 draft-eligible prospect in this year’s class, which ranks 16th among position players.

The 18-year-old hits from the right side of the plate, is in the midst of his senior season at Rockwall-Heath, and is committed to play college baseball at Mississippi State University. Last year, he batted .347/.514/.723 with five doubles, nine triples, five home runs, 37 RBIs, 40 runs scored, 29 walks, three strikeouts, and 15 stolen bases for the Hawks.

Listed at 5-foot-8 and 178 pounds, Williams may be undersized for his position. But according to his MLB Pipeline scouting report, the native Texan is “a favorite gut-feel guy for a lot of scouts” because of his “quick hands, feel for the barrel, and quality right-handed stroke.”

On the basepaths and on the field, Williams possesses “plus speed and knows how to use his quickness.” Defensively, he dealt with a shoulder injury last summer that affected him on the showcase circuit, though “some evaluators believe he has solid arm strength when healthy.”

With that, MLB Pipeline notes that Williams has “the hands and actions” that are required of a shortstop. And while some believe he has what it takes to stick at shortstop, there are others who think he is best suited for second base or center field.

Williams, who turns 19 in November, is the second draft-eligible high school infielder the Red Sox have been linked to in recent weeks. Baseball America had Boston taking fellow shortstop Cole Young with its top pick in a mock draft that was published earlier this month.

As a reminder, the 2022 MLB Draft will kick off in Los Angeles on July 17, which is a little more than 11 weeks away.

(Picture of Jett Williams via his Instagram)

Red Sox power-hitting prospect Alex Binelas is mashing at High-A Greenville

If it weren’t for Orioles prospect Cesar Prieto, Alex Binelas likely would have become the second member of the Greenville Drive to earn South Atlantic League Player of the Week honors in as many weeks.

In the Drive’s last series against the Winston-Salem Dash (White Sox affiliate) at Fluor Field, Binelas went 6-for-17 (.353) with one double, three home runs, five RBIs, five runs scored, five walks, and eight strikeouts while appearing in five of a possible six games.

On the 2022 campaign as a whole, the left-handed hitting infielder is slashing a stout .306/.435/.714 with two doubles, six homers, 14 runs driven, 14 runs scored, two stolen bases, 11 walks, and 19 strikeouts across 13 games spanning 62 trips to the plate.

Nearly three weeks into the minor-league season, Binelas has been among the top hitters in the South Atlantic League thus far. The 21-year-old currently ranks 16th in walk percentage (17.7%), 19th in batting average, ninth in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, second in OPS (1.150), first in isolated power (.408), and third in wRC+ (195), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Binelas has seen an almost equal amount of playing time at first base and third base at the High-A level. The 6-foot-3, 225 pounder has logged 54 innings at the hot corner, 45 innings at first, and has yet to commit an error.

Binelas, who turns 22 next month, is ranked by Baseball America as the No. 17 prospect and by MLB Pipeline as the No. 22 prospect in the Red Sox’ farm system. He is undoubtedly one of the top power hitters in the organization.

This is Binelas’ first full season in pro ball. The Oak Creek, Wis. native was originally selected by his hometown Brewers in the third round of last year’s draft out of the University of Louisville but was traded to the Red Sox with Jackie Bradley Jr. and fellow prospect David Hamilton for Hunter Renfroe in December.

From the outside, one might think transitioning to a new organization may be a tough task for a player still getting his feet wet as a professional. For Binelas, though, going from the Brewers to the Sox over the winter hardly seems to be affecting him.

With that, a mid-to-late-season promotion to Double-A Portland certainly seems within reach for Binelas if he can maintain this kind of production at the plate in Greenville.

(GIF of Alex Binelas via the Greenville Drive)

Latest Baseball America mock draft has Red Sox selecting University of Florida ace Hunter Barco with top pick

Note: Barco underwent Tommy John surgery in early May.

In the first installment of their 2022 MLB Staff Draft, Baseball America has the Red Sox selecting University of Florida ace left-hander Hunter Barco with its first-round pick at No. 24 overall.

Baseball America writer Tom Lipari was the one who made the selection, and he noted that Barco is a “solid, pitchability lefty with a history of success in the SEC” who would be a “safe pick and quick mover through any system.”

Barco, 21, was originally selected by the Mets in the 24th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of The Bolles School — the same high school New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones attended.

The Jacksonville native did not sign with New York, however, and instead opted to honor his commitment to Florida. After his freshman season was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Barco earned All-SEC Newcomer honors in 2021.

Through nine starts with the Gators this season, Barco has posted a 2.50 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and .187 batting average against to go along with 69 strikeouts to 11 walks over 50 1/3 innings of work. He was forced to leave his last outing against Vanderbilt on April 15 after just two innings due to illness and is now questionable for his next start against Tennessee on Friday.

Barco, who does not turn 22 until December, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 23 draft-eligible prospect in this year’s class, ranking 14th among collegiate players and seventh among pitchers. MLB Pipeline, meanwhile, has Barco coming in at No. 53, which ranks 20th among hurlers who could be drafted in July.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Barco operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a low-90s fastball that tops out at 95 mph, a sweeping slider in the low-80s that can give off the appearance of a curveball, and a changeup that typically clocks in at the low-80s.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, “Barco throws from a low slot that adds deception and helps his stuff play up.” MLB Pipeline, on the other hand, notes that Barco “has done an excellent job of consistently finding the strike zone in college, though there’s improvement that can be made in terms of command within the zone with that funky delivery tough to repeat at times.”

While you have to go back to 2017 to find the last time the Red Sox used a first-round pick on a pitcher (Tanner Houck), the club certainly has not shied away from taking players out of Gainesville in recent years. Jud Fabian (who did not sign), Nathan Hickey, and Wil Dalton stick out there.

Barco could become the latest former Gator to join Boston’s organizational ranks, though plenty could — and likely will — change between now and Day 1 of the 2022 draft in Los Angeles on July 17.

(Picture of Hunter Barco: AP Photo/Gary McCullough)